Betty Dunn hopes her articles in Crosswalk.com help you hold hands with God, a theme in her self-published novel Medusa. A former high school English teacher and editor, she is working on new writing projects from her home in West Michigan, where she enjoys woods, water, pets, and family. Check out her blog at Betty Dunn and her website, www.elizabethdunning-wix.com
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to destruction” Proverbs 14:12. What is the “right” way to live?
In the Gospels, Joanna is listed as one of the women who accompany Jesus in his traveling ministry. The women in the group perform much of the cooking and packing chores as they journey through Galilee to Jerusalem.
Rizpah is the sad mother of the two sons of Saul who are sacrificed for tribal peace. Rizpah’s love and piety—and David’s joining Rizpah in a memorial and burial of the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan—move God to end a three-year drought and famine in the region.
Adding to this promise of living in God’s kingdom is Luke’s inspiring statement that the kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21). Jesus’ teachings about God within us contrasted sharply with the extensive body of rules to follow in the Jewish Torah.
The ancient Philistines were in the land of Canaan before Moses and the Israelites claimed it as their Promised Land from God. The conflict over Canaan territory and religious and cultural differences between Israelites and Philistines led to many battles between the two nations. In the Old Testament, Philistines are viewed as “bad guys,” long-term enemies of Israel, from the time they first encountered each other. Moses sent twelve Hebrew scouts or “spies” to survey Canaan before the Israelis entered it and they were terrified when they met the Philistines. Moses led the Israelites around Philistine settlements in Canaan to avoid conflict with them.
The best-known Hebrew-Philistine encounter is found in I Samuel 17, when young David, the future king, victoriously battled the Philistine giant Goliath. David landed a shot from a rock in his slingshot to take down this imposing enemy. This narrative illustrates God’s power to give an underdog a win, no matter what the odds.
In the fields of philosophy and aesthetics, the term philistine is now used to describe a person who does not value art, spirituality, or the intellect. A National Public Radio article labeled the Philistines "uncouth louts." In academic circles, a philistine is a person with limited knowledge of a topic. In addition, a philistine is deemed to be a person who is very materialistic and concerned with earning money. Altogether, a Philistine does not sound like someone you’d like to sit next to on public transportation!
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/kieferpix
Like king and prophet David in Psalm 51:10, you can ask God to “create in me a clean heart.” I think of the woman at the well. She was drawing drinking water, no doubt, but I like to think some of her water was drawn for cleaning.